Switzerland

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Economics

Economy - overview

Switzerland is a peaceful, prosperous, and modern market economy with low unemployment, a highly skilled labor force, and a per capita GDP among the highest in the world. Switzerland's economy benefits from a highly developed service sector, led by financial services, and a manufacturing industry that specializes in high-technology, knowledge-based production. Its economic and political stability, transparent legal system, exceptional infrastructure, efficient capital markets, and low corporate tax rates also make Switzerland one of the world's most competitive economies. The Swiss have brought their economic practices largely into conformity with the EU's, to enhance their international competitiveness, but some trade protectionism remains, particularly for its small agricultural sector. The fate of the Swiss economy is tightly linked to that of its neighbors in the euro zone, which purchases half of all Swiss exports. The global financial crisis of 2008 and resulting economic downturn in 2009 stalled export demand and put Switzerland in a recession. The Swiss National Bank (SNB) during this period effectively implemented a zero-interest rate policy to boost the economy as well as prevent appreciation of the franc, and Switzerland's economy recovered in 2010 with 2.7% growth. The sovereign debt crises currently unfolding in neighboring euro-zone countries pose a significant risk to Switzerland's financial stability and are driving up demand for the Swiss franc by investors seeking a safehaven currency. The independent SNB has upheld its zero-interest rate policy and conducted major market interventions to prevent further appreciation of the Swiss franc, but parliamentarians have urged it to do more to weaken the currency. The franc's strength has made Swiss exports less competitve and weakened the country's growth outlook; GDP fell to 1.4% in 2011. Switzerland has also come under increasing pressure from individual neighboring countries, the EU, the US, and international institutions to reform its banking secrecy laws. Consequently, the government agreed to conform to OECD regulations on administrative assistance in tax matters, including tax evasion. The government has renegotiated its double taxation agreements with numerous countries, including the US, to incorporate the OECD standard, and in 2011 it reached deals with Germany and the UK to resolve outstanding issues, particularly the possibility of imposing taxes on bank deposits held by foreigners. These steps will have a lasting impact on Switzerland's long history of bank secrecy.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$340.5 billion (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 38

$333.2 billion (2010 est.)

$324.5 billion (2009 est.)

note: data are in 2011 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$665.9 billion (2011 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

2.1% (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 148

2.7% (2010 est.)

-1.9% (2009 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$43,400 (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 14

$42,800 (2010 est.)

$41,900 (2009 est.)

note: data are in 2011 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 1.2%

industry: 27.5%

services: 71.3% (2011 est.)

Labor force:

4.27 million (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 84

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 3.4%

industry: 23.4%

services: 73.2% (2010)

Unemployment rate:

3.1% (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 26

3.9% (2010 est.)

Population below poverty line:

6.9% (2010)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 7.5%

highest 10%: 19% (2007)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

33.7 (2008)

country comparison to the world: 97

33.1 (1992)

Investment (gross fixed):

21.1% of GDP (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 102

Budget:

revenues: $222 billion

expenditures: $216.8 billion

note: includes federal, cantonal, and municipal accounts (2011 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:

33.3% of GDP (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 74

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):

0.8% of GDP (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 30

Public debt:

52.4% of GDP (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 48

54.5% of GDP (2010)

note: general government gross debt; gross debt consists of all liabilities that require payment or payments of interest and/or principal by the debtor to the creditor at a date or dates in the future; includes debt liabilities in the form of SDRs, currency and deposits, debt securities, loans, insurance, pensions and standardized guarantee schemes, and other accounts payable; all liabilities in the GFSM 2001 system are debt, except for equity nad investment fund shares and financcial derivatives and employee stock options

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

0.4% (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 6

0.7% (2010 est.)

Central bank discount rate:

0.5% (31 December 2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 133

0.75% (31 December 2009 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

2.7% (31 December 2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 182

2.733% (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of narrow money:

$500.4 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 10

$452.6 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of broad money:

$1.095 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 17

$982.6 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:

$1.213 trillion (31 December 2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 15

$1.119 trillion (31 December 2010 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

$1.229 trillion (31 December 2010)

country comparison to the world: 15

$1.071 trillion (31 December 2009)

$862.7 billion (31 December 2008)

Agriculture - products:

grains, fruits, vegetables; meat, eggs

Industries:

machinery, chemicals, watches, textiles, precision instruments, tourism, banking, and insurance

Industrial production growth rate:

2% (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 126

Electricity - production:

64.08 billion kWh (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 40

Electricity - consumption:

57.5 billion kWh (2009)

country comparison to the world: 41

Electricity - exports:

33.53 billion kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - imports:

2.157 billion kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - production:

3,488 bbl/day (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 99

Oil - consumption:

242,700 bbl/day (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 51

Oil - exports:

9,851 bbl/day (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 95

Oil - imports:

272,700 bbl/day (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 41

Natural gas - production:

0 cu m (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 129

Natural gas - consumption:

3.625 billion cu m (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 67

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 185

Natural gas - imports:

3.625 billion cu m (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 39

Natural gas - proved reserves:

0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 194

Current account balance:

$76.7 billion (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 6

$76.9 billion (2010 est.)

Exports:

$308.3 billion (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 20

$258.5 billion (2010 est.)

Exports - commodities:

machinery, chemicals, metals, watches, agricultural products

Exports - partners:

Germany 19.2%, US 10.2%, Italy 7.9%, France 7.7%, UK 5.9% (2010)

Imports:

$299.6 billion (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 19

$246.2 billion (2010 est.)

Imports - commodities:

machinery, chemicals, vehicles, metals; agricultural products, textiles

Imports - partners:

Germany 32%, Italy 10.2%, France 8.5%, US 5.3%, Netherlands 4.5%, Austria 4.3% (2010)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$270.3 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 10

$135.3 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - external:

$1.346 trillion (30 June 2011)

country comparison to the world: 14

$1.2 trillion (30 September 2010)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

$580.2 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 11

$576.2 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

$937.8 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 7

$911.5 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Exchange rates:

Swiss francs (CHF) per US dollar -

0.8723 (2011 est.)

1.0429 (2010 est.)

1.0881 (2009)

1.0774 (2008)

1.1973 (2007)